Mar 18, 2022 - News

Texas librarian alleges she was fired for not removing books

Illustration of a bookshelf with rainbow-colored books wrapped in "do not enter" yellow tape.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A former librarian in a rural Texas county alleges that she was fired for insubordination after she refused to remove books from the shelves.

Driving the news: Suzette Baker served as the head librarian at the Kingsland Branch Library in Llano County when she was terminated this month.

  • Kingsland is about 65 miles northwest of Austin.

The big picture: Baker's dismissal is the latest turn in the book wars roiling Texas.

  • Top GOP politicians, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, have called for investigating library books.
  • Books dealing with matters of race and gender have been especially singled out by state lawmakers.

What they're saying: A March 9 termination letter by Llano County Library System Director Amber Milum obtained by Axios accuses Baker of "not following directives allowing personal opinions to interfere with job duties and procedures."

  • "Your negative behavior was insubordinate and disruptive," the letter concludes.

The other side: Baker tells Axios she was fired because she refused to remove books from the shelves that dealt with gender and race, such as "How to Be an Antiracist."

  • "It's flat-out censorship," she said.
  • She said she was also accused of insubordination because she appeared at public meetings involving library matters even though she and other librarians had been ordered not to attend.

Neither Milum nor Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham — the chief elected official in the county — responded to Axios' requests for interviews.

What's next: Baker, who says she was paid $35,500 per year, tells Axios she is looking for legal representation as she prepares to sue the county over her firing.


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